Friday, 25 December 2009

Limits And Renewals

There's only a few figures left in my metal molehill (as opposed to the normal wargamer's metal mountain). I won't be ordering any new material until the new year, so it's time to reflect on what I'm going to do next.

The first decision is that my Croat infantryman isn't up to the standard I want. Rather than waste time on creating a battalion from a figure I'm not happy with, I'm going to try working on the milliput master a bit more to see if I can improve it. The cuirassier, on the other hand, is good enough. I've just used the last of my small pile of unwanted figures (including the Croat rejects) to cast another four cuirassiers: with these painted the regiment will be at half strength. So I'll order some white metal to cast more from, along with silicone rubber for new moulds in the new year.

I really like the idea of building units using my own figures, and it's hard to restrain myself from grandiose ideas about sculpting all the figures for my Reichsarmee. I have learnt a few things from my first attempts and from the mistakes made so far - both on the techniques of sculpting and when making moulds. So it's worth taking time to explore further what I can acheive. This is where working on a solo project is advantageous: I have no schedules to keep to, there's no battle marked on the calendar that I must be ready for. So even if my experiment does not produce anything usuable, there's no harm done and I can enjoy the journey.

If I'm looking at creating multiple figures then I need to use a process that ensures some uniformity in scale and proportions. I shouldn't be trying to sculpt each individual figure totally from scratch. So my next step is to make some dollies - basic human forms without any detail - that can be used to simplify the process that has to be gone through each time I want to create a new figure.

Not Quite Vitruvian Man

As usual with my sculpting efforts, I will cheat like an Member of Parliament filling out his expenses. The trick, I think, is to replace art with a more methodical approach that can be used without any great skill. So this time I will use a 2D template (hence the image, not quite Vitruvian Man), as I did previously with the horse, to improve my chances of creating a figure with acceptable shape and form. I'm going to experiment with laying a wire skeleton on the template and then filling in the figure with milliput. If I leave the areas around the joints bare, the figure can be bent at the joints to pose it.

1 comment:

Fitz-Badger said...

There's something satisfying in creating your own miniatures, isn't there? Even though my own efforts are not up to commercial standards I still enjoy it.

One thing I did (and I believe professional sculptors do) was to sculpt some basic figures with some parts completed and other parts left off or only partially done. In my case I was doing Highlanders so I sculpted the basic kilt and legs/shoes. I left the head bare so I could add hats and hair and such later. I didn't sculpt arms on the base figures. I drilled holes in the cast basic figures, inserted wire and sculpted arms on each.

Anyway, I'll be interested to see how you proceed. Please post pics as you go. :)